The 9 Best Scuba Diving Sites in the Seychelles

Split shot of a colorful fish swimming over coral and the beach
alxpin / Getty Images

Ah, the Seychelles—that far-flung island chain off the coast of northern Africa is heaven for scuba divers. With more than 100 islands, most of which are uninhabited, and a relatively small amount of tourists impacting the oceans and beaches, the Seychelles has some truly epic scuba diving. Of course, fishing is still a major industry in the country, but it's mostly non-commercial, which is easier on the marine ecosystems. And about half of the country's coastlines are preserved as national parks.

The Seychelles has 115 islands, but most people live on just three (La Digue, Praslin, and Mahé) leaving 112 islands nearly uninhabited. Underwater visibility is usually in the 70 to 100-foot range during peak dive season (around October to December, and March to May). Visibility goes down a bit in the windy season (late May to September, and, to a lesser extent, January and February). But that wind also brings in heavy plankton, which makes it a prime season for spotting whale sharks and giant mantas. Late summer is your best chance to spot these massive creatures.

Responsible, highly-rated dive operators in the country include Big Blue Divers, which visits 75 dive sites across the islands, and Blue Sea Divers, which also operates a liveaboard sailboat. Because diving is so popular in the Seychelles, most mid-range and luxury hotels will have a partner dive shop that may give hotel guests preferred rates. And since the islands of Seychelles are so far-flung, liveaboard trips are also popular.

Most of the year you'll be fine in a 3mm wetsuit, but if you're diving during the rainy season, you may want a 5mm (and be sure to bring extra layers for the boat ride back to your hotel).

01 of 09

Secret Passage

Diving off the coast of Desroches Island

Courtesy Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island

Desroches Island is remote, tiny, and generally untouched by development. Aside from one hotel, the island is still in its natural state and the same goes for the dive sites around the island. One of the most popular is Secret Passage, thanks to a swim-through leading to a cavern with barracuda and lobsters. While your dive shop likely won't require an advanced cert, you should have good buoyancy control and be familiar with navigating in smaller spaces.

Of course, Desroches Island has 18 somewhat similar dive sites, so even if Secret Passage isn't on your agenda, you're still likely to have clear water and healthy reefs. The Cave is a great pick for very experienced divers, and divers of any level can enjoy a canyon swim-through at the aptly named Canyon dive site.

  • Dive Type: Boat dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Desroches Island
  • Depth: Swim-through is at 80 feet
  • Certification Required: Open water
02 of 09

Fisherman's Cove Reef

Hotel Le Meridien Fisherman's Cove in the bay of Beau Vallon, Mahe Island, Seychelles, Indian Ocean

Martin Moxter / Getty Images

If you're a beginner diver who loves gentle drop-offs and sea turtles, make sure Fisherman's Cove Reef is on your scuba diving radar. The site is very popular with beginner divers as there's rarely a current, it's very shallow, and has a colorful reef with everything from clownfish to eagle rays to small leaf fish, which can very difficult to find against the seagrass and coral. Even better, it's only about a five-minute boat ride to reach the site, which is also popular with snorkelers.

  • Dive Type: Boat dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Beau Vallon, Mahé
  • Depth: 20-45 feet
  • Certification Required: Open water 
03 of 09

South Marianne

Scuba diver swimming underwater in a rocky canyon reef

Massimiliano Finzi Getty Images

South Marianne is a great dive site for just about all types of divers. Beginners will find it to be an excellent chance to practice diving in a current (not too strong) and budding marine biologists will appreciate the diversity of species, from grey sharks to eels to large jacks and even the occasional whale shark (usually around September and October). Divers more into landscapes will find plenty to entertain themselves as well, including rock pinnacles and wide, easily navigated canyons.

  • Dive Type: Boat dive
  • Closest Departure Point: La Digue
  • Depth: <75 feet
  • Certification Required: Open water 
04 of 09

Aldebaran Wreck

White-Spotted Shovelnose Rays (Rhynchobatus djiddensis), playing in open water

qldian / Getty Images

The Aldebaran, an intentionally sunk fishing boat just over 90 feet long, is another wreck just for advanced divers. It was sunk in 2008 and now serves as a healthy artificial reef, populated by many of country's most common small creatures as well as larger species like the occasional dolphin or guitarfish (which looks like a blend between a ray and a shark). Because the wreck was intentionally set on the ocean floor, rather than landing after a shipwreck, it's upright and sits evenly on the sand. That makes it a good place for underwater photography, as long as you have a wide-angle lens so bring the GoPro if you have one. Expect currents here on most days.

  • Dive Type: Boat dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Beau Vallon, Mahé 
  • Depth: 90-130 feet
  • Certification Required: Advanced open water
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05 of 09

Ennerdale Wreck

If you love wreck diving, the Seychelles is probably already on your radar. With several highly rated wrecks accessible as day trips from Mahé, you'll likely be able to dive at least one regardless of your ability level.

If you're an advanced diver, head right for the Ennerdale, a British oil tanker that accidentally sunk in 1970. Because of the medium-to-strong current and depth, it's for advanced divers only. But if you have that advanced open water cert, you'll be able to swim around the wreck's propellers, penetrate the frame, and likely see eels, white-tip reef sharks, and the occasional bull shark.

  • Dive Type: Boat dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Beau Vallon, Mahé
  • Depth: 40–100 feet
  • Certification Required: Advanced Open water 
06 of 09

Black Rock

White tip shark

Bernard Radvaner/Corbis Getty Images

Silhouette Island may only have about 200 residents, but the Indian Ocean surrounding it has at least 990 species of marine creatures—and likely far more. Because of Silhouette Island's remoteness and designation as a marine national park since 1987, the waters around the island are some of the most biodiverse on the planet.

To maximize how many species you'll see on one dive, head to Black Rock. You'll be able to spot white tip sharks lurking in rock caves fairly regularly, It's a good site for spotting colorful coral and interesting underwater boulders and rock formations, and is sometimes done as a drift dive. It's possible as a long day trip from Mahé, though there are a few hotels and dive operators on the island. The Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa has an in-house dive shop.

  • Dive Type: Boat dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Silhouette (possible as a long day trip from Mahé)
  • Depth: <55 feet
  • Certification Required: Open water
07 of 09

L'Ilot

Scuba diver beside whale shark

Getty / Jeff Rotman

  • Dive Type: Boat dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Beau Vallon, Mahé
  • Depth: 70-130 feet
  • Certification Required: Advanced open water 

L'Ilot is a very tiny island off the coast of Mahé, and because it's easily to navigate and close to the shore, it's very popular for night diving. While circling the teeny-tiny island, keep an eye out for hogfish and scorpionfish, frogfish (which have phenomenally good camouflage abilities), and octopus around the rocks. If you keep your eyes turned to the open ocean on the other side of the island, you may be lucky enough to see ocean sharks, schools of barracuda, and whale sharks during migration season.

08 of 09

Baie Ternay Marine Park

The bay of Baie Ternay, Seychelles, Indian Ocean

Getty / Martin Moxter

  • Dive Type: Boat dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Beau Vallon, Mahé
  • Depth: <40 feet
  • Certification Required: Open water 

Baie Ternay Marine Park is one of the best dive sites in the Seychelles for beginner divers, though many divers with advanced certifications still count it among their favorites. The shallow, protected area of ocean has bright blue lagoons, healthy and varied coral, and a lively reef. It's ideal for snorkeling, which makes this a good morning or afternoon trip if half of your travel crew doesn't dive. Both snorkelers and divers are likely to see sea turtles grazing on the seagrass, schooling reef fish, and small eels poking out of the sandy ocean floor.

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09 of 09

Literally any Site in the Aldabra Atoll

Aerial of the Aldabra channel

Chris Mason Parker / Seychelles Tourism

It doesn't get much more remote than the Aldabra Atoll, a UNESCO site and raised coral reef surrounding a large lagoon. And yes, the coral reef continues underwater, which makes all the island's dive sites stunning. Advanced divers can do drift dives in a channel with a chance of seeing thresher sharks, while beginners can stay closer to the reefs, checking the various species of marine life in the Indian Ocean off their must-see list. On a good day in November, visibility can be over 200 feet

And during your surface interval, there's still something to do: the island is home to nearly 100,000 giant tortoises, as well as several other rare species your divemaster will likely be able to point out.

Because the islands are so remote, the only way to reach them is to take a liveaboard trip from Mahè. It'll take a few days to reach the islands.

  • Dive Type: Boat dive
  • Closest Departure Point: Mahé (liveaboard access only)
  • Depth: 30+ feet
  • Certification Required: Open water
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